His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 12

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 12

For centuries a special breed of lambs were raised in fields just outside Bethlehem for one purpose, the sacrifice. Lambs were brought to Jerusalem at Passover from Bethlehem and were slaughtered as a sacrifice to God for the covering of the people’s sins.

The last sacrificial lamb was born in Bethlehem. He is the only one we will ever need. Forever. Not just for a season, but for eternity.

IMG_0476

John 1:29–The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Revelation 7:17–For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Because of God’s heart for you, for me, for us–a baby was born. The Lamb of God came with a special purpose. He came to die. And now He lives. Although it is difficult for us to even comprehend this love, God writes His heart so simple –a child can understand.

John 3:16—For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

IMG_8496

IMG_8177

He stands all alone in the blanket of white.  This lone donkey.

And he has this special purpose to serve.

There is no where in the Bible that speaks of Mary and Joseph riding to Bethlehem on a donkey, however scholars believe this is true because donkeys were the major form of transportation in Biblical times.

But there is one sure thing written in the Bible about the need of a donkey.

Matthew 21: 1-3, And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.

The cattle of the field need the protection of a donkey–The people of Jerusalem needed lambs for the sacrifice of Passover–Jesus needed the colts for His entry into Jerusalem–the animals–God used them for a special purpose. And there was Mary and Martha who gave unselfishly to their purpose of serving.  This beautiful purpose of serving.

The Lamb of God came with a special purpose–He served and He gave the ultimate sacrifice–He gave freely. Because of love.

And God gives us all a purpose and a time to fulfill our special purpose.  It’s up to us to rend our hearts wide–

Ecclesiastes 3:1, To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

How to be a gift this Christmas

Pray for God to show us ways to serve Him by serving others 

Pray for God to show us our special purpose 

Share the story of the birth of Jesus with others–His purpose

 

All scriptures referenced are from the KJV Bible 

 

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 11

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 11

Driving up the mountain to Boone I was surprised by a flock of small birds that flew out from some nearby trees along the roadside. The sky was covered by these tiny black specs, thousands of them flying off to some unknown destination. As I watched in wonder at God’s beauty my mind wondered to the Christmas story and the presence of angels.

_DSC0704.JPG

_DSC0175.JPG

_DSC0677.JPG

It’s dusk and another day’s work is done. The sheep are all accounted for and it’s finally time for rest. But before the shepherds could lay down their weary and aching bodies, heaven opened and God’s special messenger appeared with the greatest birth announcement this world has ever received.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Luke 2:9-10

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:13-14.

A multitude, a great number, not just one angel, but thousands covered the night sky. Like snowflakes–singing angelic praises.

Luke tells us after their song and praise, the angels went away, “into heaven”.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made know unto us.  Luke 2:15

IMG_0456

And angels adorn our trees and our children costumed in angelic whites and golds and silvers in our Christmas programs and God sends.

I sat in awe of him–on this Sunday morning–he walked through the doors and worshiped with my church, this man whose skin may have been different but the heart the same.  He stood in the midst of our congregation and I watched him as he stood and sang during the offering song. He didn’t need a song book. He knew the words by heart. I watched as a deacon and others in my church reached out their hands in fellowship–welcoming him while the offering plate passed from pew to pew.  He was one that never returned. Could it be, we as a church have entertained angels as the Bible speaks? I believe.

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2. 

How to be a gift this Christmas

Share a little of Christmas every where you go if nothing but a smile you carry

Pray for those who will be celebrating their first Christmas without a loved one

Pray for the homeless and the hurting

All scripture references from the KJV Bible 

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 10.

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 10.

As the evening skies darkened the shepherds would gather their sheep into the sheepfold, counting each one in the evening and then again in the morning as they returned to pasture. They slept near the flock to protect them from wild animals and thieves–always on watch.

_DSC0352.JPG

_DSC0350.JPG

_DSC0509.JPG

These sheepherders were shunned by society–forbidden in the Temple courts or religious gatherings. Isolated to themselves because no one wanted to be around them–reeking of animal smells was just one of many reasons they were considered unworthy.

But God…God sent an angel to these shepherds to tell them the good news and how they could witness this miracle birth. And they obeyed. Imagine, the lowest of society was honored to hear of Jesus’ birth first, His first visitors. God reached down His hand and touched these shepherds’ hearts. Come, I have news for you. Your Savior is born. Come and see my Son.

Luke 2: 8-12, And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

Luke 2: 15-20, And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

These outcasts known as simple shepherds–their lives were changed forever that night. And that’s what happens when we meet Jesus.  Our lives are changed for eternity.

_DSC0371.JPG

Our nativity figures and Christmas programs always depicts three male shepherds. The Bible references them as “shepherds” or “the shepherds” (Luke 2:8,15,18).

And there’s this beautiful story in the Old Testament of Rachel, the keeper of her father’s sheep.

Genesis 29:6, And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.

Genesis 29:9, And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep; for she kept them.

And what if one of those shepherds who visited the baby Jesus–what if one of them was a woman? What if one of the shepherds was a shepherdess? What if she was sent especially to help Mary after the birth of Jesus, if only for a few moments of time.

What if?

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.  (John 21:25)

How to be a gift this Christmas

Read our Bibles. Share a Bible with someone in need 

Go through old family photos and make an album for a loved one 

Ask a teacher how you can help in the classroom–Does a child have a need, do they need a gift for a loved one, do they need a friend? 

 

All scriptures referenced are from the KJV Bible 

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 9.

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 9.

The news of snow coming. Snow is on the horizon. And we are rushing to the grocery store, preparing. And to many of us the snow brings out the child inside of us running to the window, watching for that first snowflake.

And then it comes and the world becomes quieter and the noise stops, at least for a little while.

_DSC0200

_DSC0173

_DSC0599.JPGAs we witness royal births in our world today the news is spread world-wide with large crowds waiting in anticipating the birth of the new royal. And once the news of the birth is officially announced, often times bells ring out through the towns, communities, cities and the country in which the child was born There is a new royal baby. Born on this day._DSC0194There were no royal bells ringing throughout the land announcing the birth of Jesus.  He came in the humble of poverty. He came in the quiet, like a winter snow.

Please slow down and slip away from the noise of the “commercial Christmas” and listen to this song “Winter Snow” written by Audrey Assad and performed by Chris Tomlin. Listen to the slow and the quiet of this Christmas season. This song will take your heart straight to the manger.

 

“Winter Snow”
by Audrey Assad (2)

Could’ve come like a mighty storm
With all the strength of a hurricane
You could’ve come like a forest fire
With the power of Heaven in Your flame

But You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

You could’ve swept in like a tidal wave
Or an ocean to ravish our hearts
You could have come through like a roaring flood
To wipe away the things we’ve scarred

But You came like a winter snow, yes, You did
You were quiet, You were soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Ooh no, Your voice wasn’t in a bush burning
No, Your voice wasn’t in a rushing wind
It was still, it was small, it was hidden

Oh, You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Falling, oh yeah, to the earth below
You came falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

_DSC0003.JPG

_DSC0708.JPG

And the snowflakes are large on this winter morning. And the silence of a winter snow always brings the most beautiful birds. Perhaps on this day they too need the peace and stillness only God can provide.

How to be a gift this Christmas

Pray 

Dear God, As we prepare for your coming birth this Christmas help us to never be too busy to celebrate in the quiet. Be thankful. To always remember without Your birth–there would be no Christmas. And burden our hearts with a flame to share with others Your goodness–Your love, Your forgiveness–Your salvation–Your second coming. Amen. 

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 8.

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 8.

Liz Curtis Higgs, author of The Women of Christmas wrote, “Three women played vital roles in the Messiah’s birth: Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna. Their lives were markedly different. Elizabeth was married, settled, mature. Her kinswoman Mary was young, still living at home, and engaged to a carpenter. Anna was an elderly widow whose every waking hour wholly dedicated to God.” 

1BAE73CC-32C0-4EA6-926F-FECD2D275311.jpeg

IMG_4646

And they all learned from one another. Three different generations, three women devoted to God.

When the angel Gabriel told Mary how she would conceive he also shared the news of her cousin, Elisabeth. 

Luke 1:36—And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 

Luke 1:39-And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah

053848A7-3BEB-4876-A4AB-D1B4CA8118A9.jpegI love how the scripture reveals to us the urgency of Mary. She didn’t waste any time getting to her cousin’s side. Was it because Mary thought Elisabeth needed her or did Mary need Elisabeth? 

They needed each other. 

The Bible tells us that Elisabeth was well past her childbearing age. Zacharias referred to his wife as “well stricken in years”. 

And Mary, so young. Two women so very distant in age but hearts entwined with one another. 

Because of family. 

Because they were women. 

Because of two miracle babies growing inside their wombs. 

Because of God’s love. 

As soon as Elisabeth heard Mary’s voice, she knew. Her baby knew. I can only imagine both women falling into each other’s arms to their knees, embracing each other with hugs, gentle cheek kisses, smiles, tears of joy, prayer.

Luke 1:40-45–And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sound in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. 

And Elisabeth praised Mary for her faith and her obedience to God. 

Mary stayed with Elisabeth for three months, her first trimester before returning to her home. During Mary’s visit with Elisabeth I expect these two women spent much time in prayer, baking bread, sewing baby clothes and long talks about pregnancy, the unknown of their childbirths to come and God’s goodness. 

They needed each other and God provided.

The Bible doesn’t tell us this but I truly believe Elisabeth gave Mary the encouragement she needed to go back home and share her good news. Although Mary’s faith was strong, we all need encouragement at times when life gets hard and dark.

We have so much to learn from Godly women. God offers these women in our lives for a reason–for strength, love, inspiration, encouragement. Seek out these ladies, these gifts, spend time with them, learn.

IMG_6380

She was standing outside in her yard in her puffy coat and flannel pajamas and she was hugging this fat cat with a tail that was swinging like a pendulum on a clock.  And her wide smile shouted ‘I’m just waiting on the snow to begin.’

And there’s these little girls and young ladies growing up–girls who are looking to us women to help guide them.  And guide them God’s way.

How to be a gift this Christmas 

Place an extra tip in the jar

Listen for the bell and drop a gift inside the red Salvation Army buckets 

And say Merry Christmas to everyone you see

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 7

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 7

Often times I am asked, are you Jill’s mother, Daniel’s mother? And I smile, wide. Yes!
One of God’s greatest blessings is a child.

Jesus’ Mother. The Prince of Peace’s Mother. The Messiah’s Mother. The Son of God’s Mother. His Mother. The scriptures reference Mary as His mother multiple times. But the first person to acknowledge Mary as Jesus’ mother was her cousin Elisabeth, who was expecting her first child, her miracle child, John the Baptist.

_DSC0186.JPG
Luke 1:42-43–And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 

And Mary beamed with joy and her praise poured out of her open heart like heavy rain.

_DSC0196.JPG
Luke 1:46-55–And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For He hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away. He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to His seed forever.
_DSC0150.JPG
There was dead silence in the room as spoke about getting down on her hands and knees cleaning up the child’s blood off the cold concrete leading into the home. She didn’t know how to console this mother whose child had died the day before in tragic accident right there in the family’s driveway. So she cleaned and she prayed and she cried.

The day before this mother carried her lifeless child into their home leaving a bloody trail of death. And this angel stood before an audience filled with Christ sisters that day and told how her own children should see her more on her knees in prayer and no mother should have to see her child’s blood stains.

And there was the bloody ground at Golgotha–stained in the darkest of red. And Mary, Jesus’ mother, did she walk in slow and trembling steps back to Calvary the day after she watched her Son take His last breath here on earth?

Did she fall to her knees grabbing what blood-stained earth her wrinkled hands could hold? Did she find the blood stained wooded cross and try to wipe away the death, the hurt?

Her child. God’s child. His blood. His sacrifice. His love. His mother.

John 19:26-27, When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom He loved, He saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

How to be a gift this Christmas

Send Christmas cards to Veteran’s Hospitals

Adopt a military family

Pray for our military and those who will be serving on active duty and not be home with their families this Christmas

 

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 6

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 6

The dictionary states that your name is a word used for identification, called, or known. A newborn responds to the sound of his or her Mama and Daddy’s voice first and then as a toddler they learn their own name.  And in the Lackey household we quickly learned if our parents called us by our full name more than likely we were in trouble for some kind of mischief–which happened fairly often.

Your name–unique to you, chosen by your parents, often with special meanings or named after a family member or loved one.

And Jesus-He was named by His Father.

IMG_0404

And when the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary he revealed to her the name of her child, God’s child. You shall call him Jesus.

Jesus Christ

Christ the Lord

Emmanuel

Luke 1: 31-32, And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

Matthew 1:21, And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for He shall save his people from their sins.

Matthew 1:23. And they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Matthew 1:24-25, Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and He called His name JESUS.

Luke 2:11—For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

And Jesus named by His Father, God–His name is still and will always be the name above all names–salvation. 

Acts 4:10, Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

Acts 4:12—Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

IMG_7957.JPG

The blanket of black peels away to red and blue leaving only a silhouette of the dark and planes are ascending to their high on this early morn.  School bus motors are humming, flashing their bright. And cars and trucks and 18-wheelers all moving in haste–competing with the clicking of time.

IMG_7856

And in the school buses are children and a driver–all with names.

Planes with passengers and crew all in flight–every seat filled with names.

And within each speeding car and truck are drivers–passengers–children–all with names.

And there’s this bus, four to be exact before the day’s travel ended–dull in color with windows lined with cages limiting the passengers’ views and the bus, marked with black lettering–NC Inmate Transport Unit. Inside sits rows and rows of men or women–all with names.

Names. And God knows them all. And there is no hierarchy of importance with God.  Only this whosoever.

John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

How to be a gift this Christmas

Seek out a prision ministry and give of your time or resources

Seek out a ministry that gives to children whose parents are incarcerated and give of your time or resources

Invite the whosoever to your church, your Christmas programs, Christmas dinners

Pray for the lost.  Pray for the whosoever.